Monday, October 4, 2010

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Iron Fist"

This episode should more appropriately be titled “The Night of the Iron Hand,’ as Count Draja’s prosthesis made of iron is not molded into a fist. Rather, it is shaped like a karate chopping hand, which is apt, since he uses it for that several times during scuffles with Jim. Count Draja is played with cunning menace by Spock’s daddy himself, Mark Lenard.

Jim and Artie are assigned to escort Count Draja of Bosnia to Washington for extradition. He stole a half million dollars in gold from his country ad buried it somewhere in the Arizona Territory. You may recall the Croatians from "The Night of the Wolf” were also living as exiled fugitives in the Arizona Territory. It must be a popular destination for disgraced Eastern Europeans.

They split up to keep the Count from retrieving the gold. Artie poses as the Count on the train ride to Washington while Jim and the Count rough it out of the territory on horses. Complications ensue, of course. The train is hijacked by gunmen hired by Draja’s main squeeze from the old country. A ’reunion” with her threatens to blow his cover. Meanwhile, Jim and the Count are pursued by are relentlessly pursued by vigilantes who discover who the count is and are seeing reward for his capture.

Along the way, we get gunfights, fistfights, karate chops, karate kicks, chases on horseback, explosions, and a sandstorm. Artie throws the bad guys off the moving train, too. “The Night of the Iron Fist” is a particularly violent episode. It is also just average as these things go. There is not much creative about the action or the inevitable double crosses that are meat to thicken the plot. The good guys do not seem interested in recovering the gold, either. You would think Bosnia would want that back.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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